Indoor services at salons and barbershops are finally allowed under Berkeley’s latest health order beginning on Friday, Sept. 4, but customers will have to adjust to several new guidelines before they can walk away with a fresh ‘do.

The move comes two weeks after Berkeley and Alameda County started allowing outdoor haircuts and more than five months after stylists shut down their services at the beginning of the pandemic. Local health officers updated the guidance Thursday after the state changed its tracking method to a new, tier-based system last week.

The local health order and state guidance lay out several restrictions to getting your hair done, meaning customers won’t be able to stroll into a busy beauty parlor on short notice. Grooming services will be appointment-only, walk-ins will be refused and outdoor services are encouraged whenever possible. Personal care services, like nail salons and waxing, are not yet allowed inside.

All appointments will be staggered to allow time for cleanings and sanitation, and stylists will contact customers before the appointment to make sure they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for the virus. Two people will not be allowed to service a customer at the same time, customers will have to wear face coverings throughout the cut, color or styling, and the service provider will wear face shields, smocks, and other personal protective equipment.

The new health order also allows higher education libraries, like UC Berkeley and Berkeley City College, to reopen at 25% capacity.

Berkeley asks residents to choose among “buffet of options” to lower coronavirus risk

Though the city is moving forward with its reopening roadmap, it emphasized that individuals need to consider activities as “trade-offs” to avoid the ongoing risk of contracting COVID-19 – especially with the upcoming Labor Day long weekend. This means forgoing outdoor dining or waiting a bit longer to go to the grocery store if you get a haircut that same week, for example.

“There are now more options at the buffet of activities. But, in terms of physical proximity with others, COVID-19 still forces us on a distancing diet. Don’t go for everything on the table,” Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley health officer, said in a statement.

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Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...